Spend to Survive Video: Finance Manager at Digital Detox

Marta Villar

Marta is the Finance Manager of Digital Detox. Prior to Digital Detox, Marta held the same role at TritonExec and Quiqup. Digital Detox is an independent digital product design and development agency.


Marta manages company spend at Digital Detox with a heavy focus on internal communication and customer retention. Find out how tracking cash flow and solidifying long-term relationships helped this company get through the pandemic.


Predicting the unpredictable 

You can never underestimate a good spreadsheet; Marta’s first big step to handling company finances during the pandemic was to create a cash flow forecast.

A simple spreadsheet recording the cash you’ve got coming in and your outgoings will help you see your cash movement clearly. But you can add to that predictability by also recording expected opportunities in your pipeline. Build a forecast for a full year, and you’ll avoid many unpleasant surprises.

Another step Marta highlights was the need to stay up to date with government schemes, and finding options to help the business get through this uncertainty.

Something like an interest-free 12-month business loan could help a small business keep more cash in the bank, for instance.

Tracking company cash

As for what Digital Detox considered the most important metrics to follow during this coronavirus crisis, one stood out: cash runway.

Marta also spoke of the significance of keeping an eye on their sales pipeline. By understanding which projects they were involved with, short- and long-term, they were able to stay prepared despite not knowing when the economy would recover.

Another important metric mentioned was cash in bank – specifically comparing it with the number of months they would be able to survive on it.

Helping clients adjust

Marta is a one-person team, handling all finance at Digital Detox. Before, with pre-approved pricing models, she was more often involved once a product was ready to be delivered to a business.

Since the beginning of lockdown though, Marta’s role has evolved. These days, she’s more involved in initial commercial conversations, helping the company adjust their pricing model to each client.

With COVID-19, they’ve had to be more creative in establishing prices that businesses could afford right now that would still benefit them.

Marta also started spending more time advising the board with measures to fight the impact of COVID-19 on Digital Detox – a high priority.

Balancing new vs. existing customers

Digital Detox aren’t keen on choosing between acquiring new customers and working hard to keep their existing ones.

They strive to build and retain long-term relationships, and spend a lot of time making sure their clients work with them again and again. If they do, it’s one guarantee they can have. They’ve benefitted from this before COVID-19, but it’s made an even bigger difference once the pandemic hit.

That said, one of their goals is still to incorporate as many strong, new logos to their client portfolio as possible.

This takes the burden off always counting on their existing clients to come through, lowering the risk of not getting paid – which is why they have people to get new clients on board and then to follow them from the moment they do.

Communicating to grow

Digital Detox consist of a small team of only 22, and they’re focused on growth. But because they want to grow steadily, they need to be patient and keep a tight grip on their budget.

As finance manager, Marta defines budgets with margins, up and down, which helps them make spending cuts that are more realistic for them and doesn’t hurt their growth.

They’ve also turned up their internal communication. Marta asked every head of department if costs had been raised and where they could reduce expenditure, and incentivised them to come to her if a new additional cost appeared. This encouraged better decision-making.

Marta took it upon herself to ensure the whole company understood that the priority wasn’t to stop spending, but to spend more wisely – in other words, they needed to spend to survive.